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Thursday, February 27, 2020

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NXT Redux (August 31, 2016): You better work

[media-credit name=”WWE” align=”alignnone” width=”620″]livvsaliyah[/media-credit]

Heyooo and welcome to this week’s NXT review! After an emotional TakeOver that saw Bayley bow out of developmental and figuratively pass the torch to newcomer Ember Moon, the women’s division is primed for a shakeup.

Asuka‘s stranglehold on the women’s championship continues. Bayley couldn’t thwart her, who can? This week gives us a glimpse of two developmental competitors that may rise to the occasion as Liv Morgan is set to take on Aliyah.

Let’s get to the match!

Liv makes her entrance to “Let’s go Jersey” chants while Aliyah comes to the ring sporting new gear, new entrance music (though I did like her old one), and a new attitude.

Before they both tie up they psych each other out. Aliyah begins dominating Liv with heavy handed strikes and takes her down with an axe handle. Commentary notes how Aliyah is here with a new attitude to try and stand out as Liv kicks out of Aliyah’s pin attempt. They fight their way to the corner where Liv takes Aliyah down with a low headscissor and a drop toe hold.

Aliyah comes back, however, and continues to pummel Liv with punches and kicks. She whips Liv into the corner and strikes Liv from the ring apron. She taunts her by repeatdly saying, “How you livin now?”

She kicks and works Liv’s arm over with a Kimura/headscissor submission. Liv steadily tries to reverse it, eventually making her way out of it. She dropkicks and closelines Aliyah before grounding her with a bulldog. Aliyah makes her way to her feet but a roundhouse kick by Liv takes her down for the three count.

WWE.com catches up with Liv after the match to ask her about what the win means for her momentum.

She says that it’s all about seizing the moment and the opportunity to be the next big thing. Now that Bayley, Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss, and Carmella are gone it’s time to step up. She says she not only needs to do this for herself but for her family. She’s been working hard at the performance center and is going to show everyone what she can do.

After the match commentary announces that Asuka is back next week for an exclusive interview.

Additionally, another video package highlighting someone called Sanity airs during the broadcast. It’s rumored that Crazy Mary Dobson was signed, could this be hyping her or is it someone else?

Thoughts: The match was pretty basic and both girls still have a long way to go. Not everything is all bad, however, as Liv and Aliyah can grow from here. Both are very young, both have chemistry to develop a long standing feud against each other, and both have time.

I like Liv but she needs to add an extra something to her gimmick. She’s still too similar to Carmella with her state pride thing. I mean, I’m from New Jersey so I get and appreciate the love, but she needs more depth. As far as her in ring abilities go, she’s very tenacious, fast on her feet, and she plays the underdog role well so I look forward to the welcome additional layers to her character and the continued development of her move set.

I really appreciate the after match catch up. Her promo needs a little work, since she doesn’t seem completely comfortable on the mic, but she’s slowly adding that depth to her character that I just mentioned. I think more matches under her belt combined with a meatier story/feud with someone will really begin putting her over the top as one of the next faces of the division.

Aliyah is similar, I was hoping she’d continue to round out her belly dancer/exotic face gimmick that she was going for but she’s looking to differentiate herself from the competition so this heel turn is a good change. She dominated quick and early and got innovative with her submissions. I would have liked to see maybe a power move or two from her, since I feel like many girls are relying on strikes these days, but she can add to her arsenal and over time become more complete.

I’m very excited that next week NXT will feature Asuka. I’ve been very vocal about how being a ghost champion is hurting her, the division, and the belt. She is the champion and she should be on television lurking around the other women as they compete against each other. I’m curious as to what she’ll say and how the interview will go down.

I want to briefly note that NXT’s opening credits now feature Ember. NXT’s twitter banner has also been modified to feature her which I think is a big clue as to how important she’ll be moving forward.

The division is still lacking feuds outside the title picture though. I want to be optimistic and hope these next few weeks will begin to establish some stories we can bite into. NXT is starting from scratch now and every woman has to work harder to continue the brand’s reputation for presenting a stellar women’s division.

It’s time to sink or swim.

What did you think of last night’s NXT? Who do you think Sanity is? How would you book the division moving forward? Sound off in the comments below.

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